Paul’s account of the Resurrection in First Corinthians is (with all its theological implications) one of the great doctrinal rocks upon which the historic Church is founded, and as such is important enough to demand attention in any discussion of Paul as a Christian moralist. But it is also of special interest to the modern religious humanist. For it challenges him, in a peculiarly direct and uncompromising way, to give if he can his own account of the matter; and this is what I propose to do in an effort to bring out the difference between the Christian and the humanist interpretation of certain vital facts of our spiritual experience at a point at which (I believe) it can be most forcibly exhibited.
THE HUMANIST RECONSTRUCTION
Speaking, accordingly, in the manner of men, as a humanist, and therefore without reference to the supernatural aspect of the matter upon which the historic Church puts all its emphasis, the meaning of the Resurrection may be said to be the immediate, inward experience of the indestructibility of the saving knowledge that the man Jesus Christ brought into the consciousness of men. This was the knowledge of the redemptive power of love; and the Resurrection was the most complete and most glorious affirmation of its indestructible power to redeem. And (the humanist would go on) what the historic accounts of the Resurrection in the Synoptic Gospels and the Acts may be taken to express is the fact that this saving knowledge that Christ brought into the consciousness of men was not destroyed when Christ died on the cross because it could not be destroyed, being in its intrinsic nature indestructible. It could indeed be eclipsed; but only for the shortest space of time—according to the New Testament story, ...1
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